News Release

Environment Texas, TexPIRG and 130+ other groups send letter to Whole Foods Market calling on company to put “Planet Over Plastic”

This is the second letter to the retail chain, which continues to fail in reducing its plastic footprint
For Immediate Release

Austin, TX -- Environment Texas Research & Policy Center, TexPIRG Education Fund and more than 130 additional groups from coast-to-coast sent Austin-based Whole Foods CEO John Mackey a letter Thursday calling on him to commit to a concrete and verifiable plan to reduce the company’s plastic footprint. This letter comes on the heels of a Greenpeace report released last week that found that the chain was failing on its policies and practices aimed at eliminating plastic waste. 

Specifically, the letter says that the company needs to commit to steps that eliminate single-use plastic packaging from its stores by Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting in May 2021. These steps include: A 25 percent reduction in the amount of single-use plastic packaging units sold by the 365 Everyday Value product line by 2025; a commitment to generate 15 percent of annual revenues from the sale of products packaged in reusable packaging by 2025; and a public report on the company’s plastic footprint by 2022. Other groups who signed onto the letter include Greenpeace USA, Oceana and The Plastic Pollution Coalition and 10 other groups from Texas.

“As a Lone-Star state company, Whole Foods should know to respect our open spaces, and be accountable for the damage its products create in the environment,” said Anna Farrell-Sherman, clean water associate with Environment Texas Research & Policy Center. “The single-use plastic the store uses to package its products is a clear example of a culture that prioritizes a moment's convenience over the long term health of our planet. We don’t need it, and to protect Texas’s wildlife, Whole Foods must act to put the planet over plastic with a bold path forward on reducing plastic waste.”

According to Greenpeace’s report, which ranked 20 U.S. grocery chains, Whole Foods scored 15 out of a possible 100 points, placing it in 10th for its efforts to tackle the plastic pollution crisis. Notably, the market not only failed to release a bold and comprehensive policy on plastic waste, but also failed to disclose information on the company’s overall plastic footprint. For these reasons, such other supermarkets as Walmart, Aldi and Krogers performed better than Whole Foods in the report.

“Nothing we use for just a few minutes should pollute our planet for hundreds of years,” said Bay Scoggin, state director for the Tex PIRG Education Fund. “In order to protect our environment and the health of communities from plastic pollution, we must hold the companies that package their products in single-use plastic responsible. We know that better alternatives to single-use plastic packaging exist, and Whole Foods, along with other companies like it, need to transition to more sustainable forms of packaging.”

Studies show that 15 million metric tons of plastic litter enter our oceans each year. This is the equivalent of two garbage trucks dumping a load of plastic into the sea every single minute and it's devastating for wildlife because  birds, fish and other species, like turtles, can so easily mistake small pieces of plastic for food. Nearly 700 types of marine animals, as well as more than 50 freshwater species, have ingested plastic or become entangled in it, often with deadly results.

“Young people and student activists expect the companies they support to reflect their values,” said Eckerd College junior and Florida PIRG Students State Chair Alex Gordon. “For too long Whole Foods has not taken responsibility for the single-use plastic pollution they’re creating and this is the moment to act. The next generation of Whole Foods’ shoppers are looking to the company to step up in the fight against plastic pollution.” 

In addition to the coalition letter, Environment Texas Research and Policy Center, Tex PIRG Education Fund and several other groups in the coalition have gathered tens of thousands of petitions, hosted public events with more than 200 attendees, and held other public communication events. The group aims to convince shareholders to take action on plastic packaging in Amazon’s upcoming shareholder meeting. 

 

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Environment Texas Research & Policy Center is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment. 

Tex PIRG Education Fund is an independent, non-partisan group that works for consumers and the public interest. 

Environment Texas Research & Policy Center and Tex PIRG Education Fund are part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done. Through research, public education and outreach, we serve as counterweights to the influence of powerful special interests that threaten our health, safety or well-being.